Sunday, May 18, 2008
This morning, His Holiness Karmapa visited and engaged in a question-and-answer session at Tibet House, an organization devoted to preserving and promoting the precious art, culture, and wisdom of Tibet. Professor Robert A.F. Thurman, Tibet House’s President, introduced His Holiness, who then answered a wide range of questions about Buddhism, spirituality, and His Holiness’s own personal journey posed by Tibet House’s members and patrons.
His Holiness gave two public dharma teachings in the afternoon at the Waldorf-Astoria Ballroom in the Midtown area of Manhattan. The talks began on a delightful note, as a representative of Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, presented His Holiness with and read aloud a proclamation from the Mayor recognizing May 15-21, 2008 to be “His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa Week” in New York City.
In discussing the topic “Cutting Through Confusion: Discovering the Wisdom of Our Own Minds,” His Holiness gave incredibly practical and useful advice about how to transcend the cultural trappings that may come to be associated with meditation practice and, rather, allow one’s mind to relax and be wakeful in a natural, uncontrived way. His Holiness discussed a broad range of other topics as well, occasionally delving into his impressive English vocabulary, to the great delight of the sold-out audience.
The day concluded with a blessing audience for members of the Buddhist organizations that have worked together to plan and administer His Holiness’s visit. At this audience, His Holiness answered the pre-submitted questions of the audience and extended his heartfelt gratitude to those who have made his trip to the United States possible: the United States government, the Indian government, the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, and, most importantly, his students and dharma friends in the United States.
Following the audience, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, the principal organizer of Karmapa in America ’08, gave a thank-you speech in which he expressed gratitude to all of the participating sanghas and praise to the great city of New York.